Aug 24, 2022
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Wooden house: How to paint the outside

Wooden house: How to paint the outside

It so happened that the first available paintwork materials are chosen to cover wooden facades, while paints for wood have completely different properties. Today we will tell you how to make the right choice of paint or varnish when it comes to the exterior of a wooden house.

Why do you need to paint a tree at all? The answer, at first glance, is quite obvious: to extend the life of wood, to provide it with additional protection. This is really the main, but not the only function of paints and varnishes for wood, in addition, you need to understand what harmful factors the coating will have to deal with.

The most important indicator for any facade paint is weather resistance. We are talking about the ability of the coating to resist moisture absorption and maintain integrity under the influence of chemically aggressive substances dissolved in rainwater. Sunlight resistance is also important: transparent compounds that preserve the woody texture should contain a UV filter to prevent darkening of the wood, and opaque ones just keep the color of the coating as long as possible.

Paint or varnish should also contribute to asepsis. As a rule, this is achieved by protecting the tree from getting wet, however, many coatings have additional additives that prevent the development of destructive microflora. Do not forget about insect pests: high-quality paint covers the wood with a hard shell that the bark beetle is not able to gnaw through.

Finally, the decorative properties should not be overlooked. The facade is the face of the building and the whole exterior depends on its appearance. Depth and the right choice of color in accordance with the details of the surrounding landscape will provide aesthetic harmony and make the house stand out pleasantly from the surrounding background.

Special properties

Depending on the climate and a number of other environmental conditions, paints may exhibit different performance characteristics. They are determined mainly by the technical properties of the coating and depend on the chemical composition of the coatings.

For different regions, you should choose paint with a certain degree of frost resistance. The material must retain a certain amount of elasticity at low temperatures so that the coating does not crack. No less important is the ability to endure high temperatures without irreversible changes in the structure of the coating, because on a hot day the wall of the building illuminated by the sun can warm up to 70 ° C.

You also need to remember the ability of the paint to reliably adhere to the base. Most materials, even from a low price category, have good adhesion to bare wood, but the situation changes radically if the wood is already coated with some kind of compound. To avoid the exhausting process of cleaning the facade, you should choose the right composition so that the paint or varnish base does not conflict with the existing coating.

The ability of paint to withstand mechanical stress should not be overlooked. It seems that this indicator is not important for the facade, however, the dust contained in the air acts as an abrasive and gradually thins the upper glossy layer, due to which the coating loses its resistance to moisture, sunlight and biological erosion over time.

Which paint base to choose

Almost all paints and varnishes consist of a base, a solvent and a coloring pigment with a set of additives. And if the appearance and some special properties depend on the last components, then the main characteristics of the paint are determined precisely by the base, which can be of three types.

Water-soluble acrylic paints are the lightest type of coatings, they are not able to withstand the destructive effects of the natural environment for a long time. Therefore, they are usually used with the expectation of regular renewal, or if the wood itself is stabilized and does not need protection. The advantage of acrylic paints is ease of application and environmental friendliness, as well as the ability to easily form an individual shade on your own.

Paints based on synthetic resins – glyptal, pentaphthalic and others – are called alkyd enamels. Their main difference is that they create a durable glossy film on the surface of the coating, which, unlike the film of acrylic paints, is an impenetrable barrier: it does not let water through and limits the base of the coating from chemical reaction with atmospheric gases.

The third type of base includes stains, which are designed to give the wood a certain color and act as an impregnation that protects against bacteriological damage. Mordants do not form a film, and therefore are not able to protect the tree from getting wet and aggressive chemical attack. For this reason, they are used only if they are subsequently opened with varnish, usually transparent.

Color, gloss and transparency

The choice of coatings for finishing wooden facades, as a rule, is carried out in order to give the building an exceptional appearance. The success of the decision largely depends on the understanding of the basic principles of working with wood, as well as on your own taste.

For the facade, paints of bright saturated colors are very rarely suitable. On the contrary, the most beneficial will be the choice of a calm natural color. If the house is located in a dense building, it is better to give preference to soft pastel colors. For houses located near water bodies, variations of blue and green are well suited, but always muted gray.

Buildings located in the natural environment, for example, with a high density of green spaces, as a rule, try to highlight, painting in colors from sulfur and mustard to dark brown. If natural stone appears in abundance in the surrounding landscape, red-brown tones, as well as deep greens and almost all light shades, work well.

The paint does not have to have a high density of pigmentation. Some enamels allow a partial manifestation of the texture, which is very good for houses whose facade is finished with quality lumber with a minimum of defects.

If the emphasis is on the natural naturalness of the building, it is better to give preference to tinted and transparent varnishes. At the same time, it should be remembered that the more transparent the coating is used, the better the wood should be and the more careful its processing should be carried out before varnishing.

All facade paints differ in the degree of gloss, which must be chosen taking into account two circumstances. The first is the norm of natural light: more shiny coatings look better in shading, while a house with matte paint will not glare too much in direct sunlight. It should also be taken into account that the higher the degree of gloss, the smoother the film is created on the surface upon drying, which means that the protective properties of the coating will be higher.

Consumption and application methods

Paints and varnishes differ significantly in viscosity and hiding power, which limits the choice of how they are applied. For example, the so-called film-forming impregnations can only be applied with a brush, which is extremely inconvenient when finishing surfaces with a large area or when working at height.

Alkyd enamels and varnishes are the most versatile in this regard; when working with them, it is allowed to use a roller or spray gun. Acceptable application methods are determined by the corresponding pictograms on the label. When coating wooden facades, it is optimal to work with a roller: coatings that allow this method of application significantly benefit in the speed of work without increasing consumption.

The total amount of paint for finishing the facade is determined by the consumption rates declared by the manufacturer, the surface area and the number of layers. Be sure to take into account that the consumption when painting rough and smooth surfaces can differ by 1.5–2 times.

Also, when working with a spray gun, it is necessary to purchase paintwork materials with a margin of about 20–25%. Of no small importance are the drying speed of the paint before applying the next layer and the permissible temperature regime – these parameters must be taken into account when planning painting work.


The nomenclature of modern paints and varnishes is organized in such a way that a specific chemical composition and any quantitative expression of the main properties are not indicated for each individual product. This is done not only to keep a trade secret, but also to make it easier for the buyer to choose.

Therefore, when buying paint for your wooden facade, the most correct approach would be to be guided by general ideas about the behavior of a particular type of paint, as well as assign the responsibility for selecting paintwork materials to consultants. In this case, you only need to indicate the type of surface and type of wood, the presence or absence of any coating, the region, special operating conditions, the desired service life and additional wishes.

Please note that not only paints are used to protect wooden surfaces. The manufacturer will definitely recommend a suitable primer and protective impregnation. If high demands are made on the facade in terms of durability and quality of appearance, such recommendations should not be neglected.

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